Effects on drainage of the mediastinum and pleura during negative pressure wound therapy when using a rigid barrier to prevent heart rupture.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Right ventricular heart rupture is a devastating complication associated with negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) following cardiac surgery. The use of a rigid disc has been suggested to offer protection against this lethal complication by preventing the heart from being drawn up towards, and damaged by, the sharp sternum edges. The aim of the present study was to compare the wound fluid evacuation from the pericardium and the left pleura when using NPWT with such a disc between the sternal edges and the heart, and when using conventional NPWT. Six pigs underwent median sternotomy followed by NPWT at -120 mmHg, using foam, with or without a rigid plastic disc between the heart and the sternal edges. A 250 ml saline was infused into the pericardium, and the time required for fluid evacuation was measured. A 500 ml saline was infused into the left pleura and the time for fluid evacuation measured. The pericardium was effectively drained of 250 ml fluid in both cases [conventional NPWT: 24 ± 0·7 seconds, NPWT with the disc: 25 ± 1·1 seconds (n.s.)]. The left pleura was effectively drained when using NPWT with the disc, but was not drained at all when using conventional NPWT. The left pleura could be effectively drained of 500 ml fluid when a rigid perforated plastic disc was inserted between the sternal edges and the heart during NPWT. Significantly less drainage of the left pleura was possible when using conventional NPWT without the disc. The pericardium was equally good drained using NPWT with or without the disc.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Surgery
  • Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems
  • Ophthalmology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454-458
JournalInternational Wound Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch